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The Diary Of Anne Frank (Blu-ray) 50th Anniversary Edition - Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1959
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 179 Minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English 4.0 Dolby Digital, Latin Spanish Mono, Castilian Spanish DTS 2.0
Subtitles: Spanish, French, English SDH
Starring: Millie Perkins, Shelley Winters, Diane Baker, Joseph Schildkraut, Ed Wynn, Richard Beymer, Lou Jacobi
Directed by: George Stevens
Music by: Alfred Newman
Written by: Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 16, 2009

"I want to go on living even after my death"

Film Synopsis:

Following the Nazi invasion of Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne and her family go into hiding in the confines of an attic. Anne's remarkable account of their lives, their growing fear of discovery, their deplorable living conditions and even the blooming of her first love are intimately portrayed in this extraordinary portrait of humanity. Nominated for eight 1959 Oscars´┐Ż and winning three, The Diary of Anne Frank remains one of cinema's most astounding and enduring treasures.

My Take:

The story of Anne (Anna) Frank is as well known as any and it transcends the boundaries of it association with the war and the horrific treatment of the Jewish people by the Nazis. Her story is told posthumously in her own words as she talks to her diary as if it were an old friend. For someone so young she wrote so eloquently. The entries in her diary begin before the events depicted in the film which is based upon the play written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. The book, from which the play is based, was first published in 1947, just a few years after her death. Her father Otto was the only survivor from the group that hid in the upper attic/loft of the Amsterdam Annex office building for just over two years from July 1942 to August 1944. He returned to that very place in 1945 after the war to find that Miep Gies, one of the people who helped them hide, had found and kept her diary. He subsequently read it and decided to honor her wish to go on living even after her death' by publishing her diary. Several years later the book was translated into different languages and appeared in the United States. In 1955 it was made into a successful play which saw over 700 performances. In 1959 Director/Producer George Stevens and 20th Century Fox made it into a motion picture. It was well received and garnered eight Academy Awards, taking home three.

This is my first time seeing The Diary of Anne Frank and I have to say it is a wonderfully enacted film that features superb performances from the cast and adept direction from George Stevens. This film marked Millie Perkins first acting role. I thought she did a good job in the role of Anna but her inexperience as an actress was obvious. That isn't meant to be a criticism of Millie because I think that her performance helped lent the portrayal a noteworthy air of innocence even though she was nearly 20 years old at the time. The seasoned cast members, Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn, Lou Jacobi, Gusti Huber, and Joseph Shildkraut were the primary forces that solidified this great ensemble. The careful detail that went into this production is plainly obvious and stands in tribute to Anne, her family, the Van Pels, Fritz Pfeffer, and those who risked everything to help them. George Stevens wanted to ensure that he did justice to this story and his efforts bore fruit. Everything from the sets, the costumes, the music, and the exterior shots used of the Annex in Amsterdam where it happened helped give it an air of authenticity. Otto Frank was consulted and spoke with members of the cast about his daughter, family and these experiences. Ultimately it was Anna whose voice was heard the loudest. This is a compelling film that documents this gripping story about a young girl who has to come of age under extreme circumstances and is later a victim of the holocaust. I think that it helps those who hear it put a face to someone who suffered the egregious perils of the holocaust. This family's plight helped to symbolize the fate of what happened to millions of innocent people. It is hard not to be moved by it. I think that George Stevens, his marvelous cast and crew, and 20th Century Fox has done them very proudly with this film.

Parental Guide:

There is nothing contained in this film that would be inappropriate for most viewers.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 76

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

The Diary of Anne Frank comes to Blu-ray from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.9 mbps.

This 2.35:1 framed black and white video presentation was very impressive for a 50 year old film. The master is in decent shape with only minor print speckles visible here and there. Images onscreen had excellent depth with acute rendering that brought out plenty of delineation. Close ups revealed lots of fine articulation in the faces, hair and clothing worn by the cast members. Things that might otherwise be missed like the surface texture of wooden floors and walls, cobblestone streets or the slight ripple caused in a puddle of water by the vibration of a truck as it pulls away during a wide angle shot of the street as seen from the attic window. These are just a few examples of the notable object detail visible in both interior and exterior shots. This added a wonderful sense of depth to the image which made it appear more lifelike. Blacks had plenty of dynamic range and consistency which played very well against the various gray tones. Gray tones had noticeably gradational stages so that images looked dimensionally diverse rather than a single shade of gray. Shadow detail and visible structure to objects contained in low light or dark areas was discernible most of the time. Contrast isn't especially strong however it adequately supports the film's elements. Even in black and white it was easy to make out the different tonal qualities inherent in the skin tones of the cast. I always find it interesting to see how they appear without color. I can't say for sure how well this would come across in standard definition but in HD it was noticeable. Grain was present in fine, even layers that appeared to be preserved naturally. The only oddity I saw was during chapter 15 as Otto sits with Anna after she had a bad dream. The video seemed to stutter momentarily and took on a brief almost white washed look. It happened again similarly during the same shot and was repeatable. I looked but didn't notice it again after that. There was also some minor noise visible in the light background walls within the attic but if you don't know where to look you probably wouldn't notice. I saw no other signs of video anomalies, bit starvation or compression related artifacts. Keeping in mind that this film is 50 years old fidelity in some scenes varied a bit but nothing that resulted in measurable degradation. I thought it had an enriching and filmic quality that looked great.

The DTS-HD multi-channel MA audio was probably overkill but it presented this soundtrack's elements quite well. This is a dialogue driven film but it contains a variety of sounds and a beautiful music score that benefited from the high resolution afforded by lossless sound. The track has a one dimension and somewhat dated aura but detail and dynamics were excellent. I listened intently as the textured and crisp sound of the Nazis heavy boots against the pavement resonated from the street below as they patrolled past the Annex. There is a brief sequence late in the film where several segments of the war are depicted. The sounds of tank fire and small weapon exchanges had dynamically palpable weight and descriptive clarity. There is no mistaking the unforgettable wailing of the European style siren as it pertrifies everyone as it draws nearer. Low level sonic detail was equally discerning. There are many moments where there is no dialogue and the only auditory used to tell the story, are a series of sounds. This mix excelled at reproducing them with crystal clarity that was free from edgy highs or strident mid range. The front soundstage is rather narrow but opens up nicely when Alfred Newman's beautiful music takes center stage (chapter 26 is an excellent example). The massed strings, blended woodwinds and thumping timpani hold sway over the front soundstage with subtle articulation and smooth elegance that never sounds forced. There isn't much in the way of surround sound or low frequency effects but there wouldn't have been originally so adding it would have sounded unnatural. Like the video quality I found this to be a great sounding track that presented this film in a positive and engaging light.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with George Stevens Jr. & Millie Perkins

  • George Stevens in World War II - 7 minute featurette

  • The making of The Diary of Anne Frank: A son's memories - a 25 minute documentary hosted by George Stevens Jr.

  • The Diary of Anne Frank: Memories from Millie Perkins and Diane Baker - 26 minute featurette

  • Shelley Winters and the Diary of Anne Frank - 1983 interview - 7 minutes

  • The sound and music of The Diary of Anne Frank - 8 minute featurette

  • The Diary of Anne Frank correspondence - As read by George Stevens Jr. - 13 minutes

  • Fox Movie Channel presents: Fox legacy with Tom Rothman - 14 minutes

  • The Diary of Anne Frank: Echoes from the past - 90 minute documentary

  • The Diary of Anne Frank excerpt from George Stevens: A filmmaker's journey - 8 minutes

  • George Stevens press conference - 5 minutes

  • Millie Perkins screen test

  • Fox Movietone News - 6 segment feature that includes Academy Award highlights, the L.A. premiere, promo pieces and more

  • Theatrical trailer

  • International trailer

  • Interactive press book gallery

  • Behind the scenes gallery

Final Thoughts:

The Diary of Anne Frank tells an important story. It helps give some perspective to the plight faced by the Jewish people during the holocaust but it also serves to portray the very real and human side of its impact as told by this very bright and vivacious girl. The film is extremely well done and features strong character connection, exemplary direction, and wonderful performances by the cast. Fox has done a magnificent job with its 50th anniversary release on Blu-ray Disc. This is a complete package that is technically strong and features a wealth of bonus material that provides an in depth look at the production (from filmmakers to cast members) as well as the real people depicted in this emotionally stirring story. This Academy Award winning film should have a place on the shelf of every enthusiast of American Cinema. Highly recommended.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor (Audio Calibration by Jeff Meier)
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 6
interesting, thanks for your review. I just purchased the SD-DVD version thinking the BD version would'nt "look" any different being black & white? Maybe I should get the BD version anyway?
post #3 of 6
Originally Posted by WestCoastD View Post

interesting, thanks for your review. I just purchased the SD-DVD version thinking the BD version would'nt "look" any different being black & white? Maybe I should get the BD version anyway?

The luma resolution is actually much higher than chroma so good HD B&W material looks killer. (So long as the viewer's display is up to the task... sometimes color helps mask poor black levels and poorly calibrated neutral gray scale.)
post #4 of 6
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

The luma resolution is actually much higher than chroma so good HD B&W material looks killer

yeah, the only B&W title I've seen so far on my system (w/Kuro display) is that movie about the famous TV reporter, with George Clooney. The title is something like "Good Night, and ......." (just can't think of it right now). But I was totally impressed with the B&W picture (BluRay).
post #5 of 6
Hi Ralph,

Would you say this is a safe blind buy? I can't get my hands on a copy from netflix.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Tom Monahan View Post

Hi Ralph,

Would you say this is a safe blind buy? I can't get my hands on a copy from netflix.



I would say so Tom..

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